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Even licensed teens need to learn to drive in snow and ice

On Behalf of | Dec 25, 2023 | Car Accidents

Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. don’t have the harsh winters that some parts of the country endure every year. That’s one reason why a snowstorm can throw the roads (and residents) into turmoil. 

You may remember that back in 2009 during his first winter in the White House, President Obama caught some flack, even from ardent supporters, for complaining about the local reaction to a winter storm. He said, “My children’s school was canceled today, because of what, some ice? As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled.”

Aside from the occasional school closures, life goes on for most of us regardless of the weather. That’s why if your teen took driver’s ed and got their license without experiencing winter driving, it’s crucial to make sure they’re prepared before they go out on their own.

How to safely prepare your teen for winter road conditions

That means sitting beside them in the passenger seat just as you did when they only had a permit. Make sure they allow extra following distance and lower their speed. Before you do that, however, it can be wise to do some practicing in an empty parking lot.

Teach them what to do if they hit a patch of ice and the car starts to spin out. This can be one of the most frightening scenarios for any driver. They must know that even what appears to be a cleared road can have unexpected slippery spots.

Be sure they know how to clear the windshield, windows, headlamps and backup camera area of snow and ice before they set off. Also, be sure they know how to find the defroster buttons quickly. 

Know when to stay off the road

They may have to pull over and clear their windshield and windows intermittently while they’re driving. However, be sure they know when not to drive. That means looking at the hourly weather forecast and the weather conditions wherever they’re headed and not being afraid to turn down a party or two if conditions are questionable – especially at night.

Teaching your teen to drive safely in the snow and ice can help them avoid a collision with an unsafe driver. However, if they (or you) are injured by an at-fault driver, remember that poor weather isn’t an excuse for poor driving. You have the right to seek compensation for expenses and other damages.